In human physiology, puberty is the period or stage in life when a youngster attains adulthood, usually gifted with the ability to reproduce.

Owing to environmental, genetic and some other factors, the puberty timing differs from one individual to another and from one country to another. However, the puberty generally happens between the age of 11 and 16.

According to a report published in a leading newspaper in India, The Hindustan Times, children are growing up sooner than they attained puberty two decades ago.

The speed with which the children go through many stages of puberty also differs. Among girls the gap between the initial signs of puberty and attaining the full maturity varies from one-and-a-half years to nearly six years.

Among boys, a likewise dissimilarity happens. The genitalia of males takes between two & five years to achieve complete growth.

During puberty both boys and girls go through a rapid increase in their body size, besides changes in the composition and the shape of their body. They also see changes in their reproductive system and other attributes indicating the development of sex organs.

A girl usually observes the first change in her breasts.  Her nipples begin enlarging and after a few months, the breast tissues start growing. As her pubic hairs begin to grow, she enters into a phase of relatively speedy growth.

The ovaries start generating estrogen. The estrogen helps in developing fat accumulation on the thighs and hips.  And, the bony and slim girl moves gradually to developing curvy female contours.

The vocal box, known as the larynx, goes through small changes in its structure making her voice more mature and less like a baby. But these changes are found radically in boys.

In the meantime, a girl’s adrenal gland also begins generating male sex hormones, which play a significant role in developing underarm and pubic hair.  This hair growth signifies the overall physical growth.

For a girl, the first menstruation (periods) is usually the first indication of attaining sexual maturity i.e. complete puberty. Her first periods are usually the final declaration of attaining puberty.  This assertion is possible after undergoing the puberty process for about two or more years.

During the next two years, a girl’s periods remain quite irregular until her usual pattern of hormones and infrequent ovulation get stabilized.  However, finally, her ovulation and menstrual cycle acquire regularity and get established.

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